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Kazakhstan hopes to join WTO in 2007

ASTANA, February 10 (RIA Novosti) - Kazakhstan may join the World Trade Organization in 2007, the country's industry and trade minister said Friday.

"If we complete all negotiations this year and defend all our positions, then 2007 is a real term," Vladimir Shkolnik said.

He said the oil-rich Central Asian republic had already completed talks and signed relevant protocols with 10 WTO member countries. "In 2006, we are planning to reach agreements with 14 other countries," he said.

Shkolnik also said Kazakhstan, which has been enjoying dynamic economic growth in recent years on the back of high global commodity prices, would coordinate its actions during the WTO accession process with Russia. The latter is seeking to join the body this year.

He added that Kazakhstan had to introduce amendments to 30 laws in 2006 to join the organization.

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